Monday Jun 09, 2008

How did our JavaOne talk go?

JavaOne 2008 is done...and there are lots of good memories. Jindra and I spent the week learning and practicing our talk, as well as wandering the pavillion and attending sessions. Our slides can be accessed here on the JavaOne Online site (note that you will need to log in as an Sun Developer Network member to view the slides -- registration is free and you won't be spammed so go for it). Also check out the slides for the other User Experience related sessions (TS-6929 Creating a Compelling User Experience, TS-6470 The Layperson’s Guide to Building a Better User Experience, and TS-5500 The Desktop Java Technology Lovers Survival Guide)

Speaking at JavaOne is totally exhilirating. Our session took place in a large room and was well attended. This year's JavaOne enabled folks to "pre-register" for each talk for guaranteed admittance, so we watched the number of prospective attendees grow during the week. In the end, about 600 folks signed up and 500 actually showed up. Neither of us has presented to this large of an audience before (we were really excited last year when our BOF had around 150 people). Since we were both new to delivering a technical session, we went through the material much more quickly than during our rehearsals. Next time we will be better prepared by making sure we have some extra material in case we finish too early -- it's easier to keep talking about stuff than to make things up.

Jeff and Jindra during Q&A

Here is a photo of us during the question and answer period of the talk. We definitely have a bit of that "deer in the headlights" look. One disadvantage of having your talk scheduled on Friday of JavaOne week is that you are nervous with anticipation for pretty much the entire conference. There are certainly benefits to presenting early and getting it "out of the way".

JavaOne attendees have high expectations, and since this year's conference featured a set of good user experience sessions, we were in very good company. Our audience was very supportive and we didn't lose many people after we started talking... If anything, I believe the folks wanted more details than our 101 level talk provided. Once we've reviewed the feedback on our audience response cards, we'll start planning for next year's session and take their comments in to account.

If you have some ideas for user experience topics that would be of interest to the wide range of Java developers who attend JavaOne, we invite you to leave your comments on this blog.

Jeff Hoffman is the lead user experience designer for Java Standard Edition.

Jindra Dinga devotes his time to improving the deployment experience of Java for both developers and end users.

Thursday May 08, 2008

JavaOne - the Pavilion

Today I was wandering around the JavaOne pavilion and took pictures of booths that showed stuff xDesign team has been working on. So enjoy! BTW: the pictures are randomly ordered ;-)

Because Sun is not the only one exhibitor in the pavilion, I also took some pictures of booths of other companies.

by Jindra

Wednesday May 07, 2008

A Quick Summary of One User Experience Talk at JavaOne

Jeff Hoffman is the lead user experience designer for Java Standard Edition.

It's the second day of JavaOne, and I attended a talk by Ben Galbraith titled Creating a Compelling User Experience. The talk was very well attended and almost filled the 826 person room (and it happens to be the same room that Jindra and I will be presenting in on Friday).

Ben is an entertaining speaker and put together a very slick presentation and demo. He conveyed key items that a developer needs to consider when designing a compelling user experience for their app. The presentation was peppered with quotes from the greats of usability and user experience design, including Alan Cooper, Jef Raskin, Donald Norman and Jakob Nielsen. A few of the points he made stick in my memory, so I'll share them with you:

  • Understand your user, and their expectations
  • Don't let your end user literally design your UI -- base your design on the goals they are trying to achieve
  • Get a visual designer to work with you -- UI design can be likened to fashion design, and you want your app to be "in"
  • Make sure your app is responsive, if the user has to wait more than a second for a response, their mind starts to wander
  • Respect the user's data, that is, don't lose anything the user enters in to the app

He also made some very positive comments about the new Java browser plugin that is included with Java 6 Update 10, and JSR-296 -- the Swing Application Framework. These features enable Java developers to create more responsive applications both in the browser and on the desktop.

Stay tuned... More photos from the show will be posted soon!

Tuesday May 06, 2008

Java One 2008 - Day One

As usual, JavaOne conference starts the second day in the week. The pictures below show a decoration you can see on streets, inside Moscone Center, as well as our friendly staff working at the registration desk.

This day started with James Gosling's talk. Right after him Rich Green came on the stage with his Java + You talk in which he mentioned how important is community and collaboration. During his talk he also showed us a demo of a application written in JavaFX. In addition to this day, the pavilion was open for the first time. On our pod, we showed some cool stuff our team is working as well as gave away some gifts.

by Jindra

Wednesday Apr 23, 2008

Speaking about User Experience at JavaOne

Jeff Hoffman is the lead user experience designer for Java Standard Edition.

Jindra Dinga devotes his time to improving the deployment experience of Java for both developers and end users.

Jeff and Duke at JavaOne 2007In a couple of weeks, my colleague Jindra and I will be presenting our process for creating a graphical user interface to the developers at JavaOne. In my last entry, I mentioned a set of user experience talks happening at this year's conference. Now I'd like to describe a bit more about how we developed our session and what's in it.

At last year's JavaOne, our merry little band of Java UE designers presented a very basic overview of user experience design best practices at a 9pm BOF. We dutifully put together a presentation with slides covering a variety of things, and cheerfully presented them to the much larger than we expected crowd. We were terribly nervous, but overall the experience was great and the questions were great too. Some months later the survey results came in and they weren't bad, but not great... Most of the comments were asking for more detail and more examples, so we started discussion about this year's presentation with that idea.

Based on the feedback, this year we are going to take a real example and walk through our process with it. Since we only have 50 minutes (and some of that time needs to be available for questions), we will try our best to reach the level of detail our audience desires. JavaOne Speaker

At the beginning of our presentation we will talk about why it is hard to create good GUIs and how important it is to understand the user's tasks and goals. Later on we take the existing command line process for configuring a network interface connection in Solaris (see Project Brussels) and make it over in to a GUI.

Jindra and I have spent years in the user experience field and we know that it's hard to follow an exact process for every project. We also know that making sure our designs work for our customers requires that we adhere to the principles of design, and we want to make sure that the developers out there understand how these principles apply to a real design problem.

If you're planning to be at JavaOne, sign up to come to our session (TS-4968). Also, if you'd like to say hello to some of the contributors to this blog, stop by the User Experience pod near the Spin-the-Wheel Game in Sun Booth at the JavaOne Pavilion.

Monday Apr 07, 2008

User Experience Blooms at JavaOne 2008

Jeff HoffmanJeff Hoffman is the lead user experience designer for Java Standard Edition. He's been designing both consumer and developer oriented products since before the boom.

Springtime is in the air! The flowers are blooming and the trees are sprouting branches. Along with nature's beauty all around us, it's a sign that we're getting closer to a special time of year for Java developers...JavaOne!

I've been attending this show since 1999 and have always been amazed at the array of Java development related topics -- except for putting good user experience design practices to work for your applications. Sure, there are always wonderful discussions about adding fun visual effects like animations, reflections and transparency to help make your application stand out from the crowd. But developers have deeper questions -- like how to make an application work the way their users expect.

JavaOne SpeakerI'm very excited to report that the 2008 JavaOne show (May 6-9 at Moscone Center, San Francisco) will include at least four technical sessions focused on user experience. There are also a whole bunch of sessions on the latest fun stuff you can do with Java 2D and 3D Graphics, Swing, JavaFX Script and more. I'll be holding a session along with my xDesign colleague Jindra Dinga called Designing GUIs 101 (TS-4968) where we will use an end-to-end example to illustrate our straight forward, repeatable process for designing GUIs that meet the user's needs effectively and efficiently.

Our talk will cover the important phases of a good design process:

  1. Discovering the User's Goals and Tasks
  2. Gathering Requirements
  3. Defining the Task Flow
  4. Designing the GUI
  5. Gathering Feedback

And how we apply these practices when we are designing a specific feature (based on a current command line interface) within a GUI desktop tool. I'll be writing more about our technical session in the weeks right before JavaOne.

To round out this "mini-track" of User Experience sessions, I've discovered three talks from folks who (like me) are interested in enhancing the user's experience with software and are spreading the word about how to make sure it is properly considered during development. They are:

Looking forward to seeing you at the show!

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